22 May 2013
This Discussion Paper collates the findings of 10 ILCs within the ILC Global Alliance on the subject of housing for older people. Coordinated by Monica Ferreira, Co-President of the ILC Global Alliance and President of ILC-South Africa, the research was commissioned to analyse the different policies used globally to provide housing for older people and to illicit best practice examples. The paper intends to begin filling in the gaps of knowledge and spark debate on the subject of shelter for older people.
The paper divides the ten ILC respondents into six “More Developed” (MD) and four “Less Developed” (LD) countries, and housing into two housing types: “General” housing which covers ordinary dwellings either owned or rented by older individuals and “Specialist” housing which comprises retirement villages, residential care homes, and nursing homes.
It reports that the ten ILCs uniformly show that “more than 80 per cent” of the older population resides in general housing – partly influenced by a strong preference amongst older people to remain living in their own home. This has led to a growing market in home adaptation – introducing technical aids to prevent older people’s loss of autonomy within their own home. Nonetheless, the paper concludes that there is still huge potential for growth in building and adapting homes so that they are made more accessible to the older population.
Ultimately, the paper finds that up to 25% of old people are still likely to relocate to specialist housing eventually. The paper finds that there is a worrying shortage of specialist housing for low-income older people – currently specialist housing is presented, and costed, as a luxury.
The paper finds that all MD countries have a well-developed policy on housing for older people focused largely on institutional care and benefits. LD countries, by contrast, tend not to offer any specific policies but instead legislate for family obligations for caring for their older generations.
The paper concludes that there can be no “perfect” housing solution given the different cultural and socio-economic needs of older people across different countries. Instead it calls for an “e-dialogue” to share best-practice examples and develop future solutions to ensure the provision of adequately priced and appropriately built housing for older people.
Readers of this discussion paper and the appended country papers below are invited to participate in a dialogue on issues raised by the Discussion Paper and in housing provision for this population in general including views on what constitutes best practice.
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